Pending Home Sales Slip to Their Lowest in Three Years
|Pending Home Sales Slip to Their Lowest in Three Years
An overall growing economy, rising incomes, and a strong job market did little to increase the number of buyers signing on the dotted line to achieve their dream of being a homeowner. In fact, pending home sales fell to their lowest level since October 2014 according to data from the Pending Home Sales Index released by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on Wednesday.The index, based on contract signings during a month, fell 4.7 percent to 104.6 in January from 109.8 in December 2017. On an annual basis, the index declined 3.8 percent from the same period last year according to data released by NAR.
“There’s little doubt last month’s retreat in contract signings occurred because of woefully low supply levels and the sudden increase in mortgage rates,” said Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR. “The lower end of the market continues to feel the brunt of these supply and affordability impediments. With the cost of buying a home getting more expensive and not enough inventory, some prospective buyers are either waiting until listings increase come spring or now having to delay their search entirely to save up for a larger down payment.”
Data from NAR showed that the number of available listings were at an all-time low in January and were 9.5 percent below the available levels during the same period last year.
According to Realtor’s 2018 National Housing Forecast released at the end of 2017, concerns over housing inventory was listed among the top five trends to watch in the housing market. “In August, the U.S. housing market began to see a higher than normal month-over-month deceleration in inventory that has continued into fall,” the report noted. “Based on this pattern, Realtor projects U.S. year-over-year inventory growth to tick up into positive territory by fall 2018, for the first time since 2015.”
read more: The M Report
Making Infrastructure Dollars Go the Extra Mile
All cities, of all sizes, will need to invest more in infrastructure development. Cities that already have a robust infrastructure need continuous maintenance and upgrades. Areas with limited infrastructure need the basics — not just roads and bridges, but irrigation, sewage, public housing, electricity and transportation.
It adds up to a staggering sum: An estimated $49 trillion will have to be invested in infrastructure projects worldwide between 2016 and 2030 just to keep pace with expected GDP growth rates. As city leaders look to address this massive infrastructure deficit, they will need to find ways to make city infrastructure — and infrastructure dollars — go the extra mile.
The way to do this is clear: by embracing smarter, more data-driven cities. By leveraging digital technology, cities can use data to accurately predict things like transportation usage, electricity requirements, traffic density, power demand and emissions — helping them manage infrastructure better while making more informed investment decisions.
Financing this new digital approach to infrastructure development requires even stronger collaboration between the private and public sectors, as well as in-depth knowledge of the market conditions affecting the types of financing required for each project.
read more: The Fiscal Times
Senate Reg Relief Vote Could Come Next Week: Banking Committee Chair
“I am encouraged by the support that I tend to see developing on both sides,” Crapo said. “My hope is that we will see it come forward next week.”
While the deal was delicately negotiated by Crapo and moderate Democrats on the banking panel, there appears to be bipartisan support for supplementing the bill with other legislative proposals that the House has put forward.
However, it is unclear if any of those provisions will be able to be attached to the Senate bill without losing Democrat co-sponsors.
“I think it will be an open process,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., a member of the banking panel who co-sponsored the bill.
read more: American Banker
Powell: Fed Members Will be Taking Another Look at Rate Projections
Still, the central bank chief indicated that the Fed plans on hiking rates three times this year and may be inclined to a fourth, particularly since a series of fiscal measures including tax cuts and increases in spending has come to pass since December.
Powell said individual Fed members will be making new projections at the March meeting, which would be influenced by the fiscal aggressiveness.
“I wouldn’t want to prejudge that new set of projections, but we’ll be taking into account everything that’s happened since December,” he told the House Financial Services Committee.
Repeating his previous warnings, Powell said the central bank has to be careful as stock market prices continue to rise.
“This is a time when we need to be alert to buildup of either financial imbalances or to inflation building up,” the Fed chief said. “We don’t really see those right now.”
read more: CNBC